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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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My fiance and I had an accident the other day - I dropped a

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My fiance and I had an accident the other day - I dropped a bottle of wine due to a sudden burst of pain (I have chronic migraine). Part of the bottle hit my fiance on the head, and a shard made an approximately 3 centimeter incision on the side of one of her nostrils - I have no idea why. We immediately went to the ER and they glued the back together, and gave her a CT scan just to confirm there was no concussion from the bulk of the bottle that hit her head (there wasn't). The hospital staff agreed that it was an accident, and found absolutely no signs of abuse.

However, my fiance's mother, upon hearing she had been in the ER and sliced her nose, assumed the worst, which she communicated to the divorced father and several other people. The father has proceeded to treat it as though I swung a heavy wine bottle at my fiance's face with a clear intent to harm (and somehow, only caused something that now looks an awful lot like a papercut on her nose). After my fiance explained and we emailed a picture of the injury to the mother, she calmed down, but after the same explanation of the incident and sent picture to the father, he escalated, continuing to insist I had hit her, spreading the word to various family members and causing significant issues for us (my fiance and I), along with emotionally traumatizing her.

He's gone further, making veiled threats aimed at me, as well as claiming I'm a "no good unemployed druggie" because I'm self-employed (due to my pain condition, which he is aware of, making my work schedule unpredictable, so I formed my own Limited Liability Company) and take pain medication, which is 100% legally prescribed for a pain condition that's been diagnosed by multiple doctors.

His claims range from extreme exaggeration (I do take pain meds; I am NOT a druggie) to flat out lies (I am not abusive.), and he's harming both my reputation and the emotional stability of my fiance. He has absolutely no proof, only his daughter saying she's never been abused by me and a hospital that found no signs of abuse.

Is it actually legal for him to do this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for your question.

The issues which you bring up fall under the law of Defamation.

Defamation is a written or verbal statement of fact (as opposed to opinion) made about you which is false, for which there is no privilege to make, and which causes your reputation harm. Accusing someone of using drugs and assault falls under defamation per se.

Technically, you could sue your soon to be father in law for defamation if you can prove that he has said or written false statements about your drug use and accusing you of assault to other people.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
A couple more questions:

It's certainly him presenting it as fact. Much of this was over the phone - if the recepients of said calls were to testify, would that count as proof?

I do have direct access two text messages he sent directly to his daughter concerning me:
"...and get rid of the guy that hits you." (made clear to be me earlier in the conversation)

and later

"and you're right, I have a problem with Dave. If he hits you with anything again he will have a problem with me !!!"

Would statements such as those specifically qualify as written defamation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I feel that, while this is implied, I have to say - I was not, nor have I ever been physically abusive to my fiance or anyone else.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your response and I understand that you are denying that you hit her (your explanation of what happened makes it clear that you did not hit her).

Testimony of the defamatory statements over the phone by the third party's hearing the statements does count as direct evidence of defamation.

In regard to the written texts, they may qualify as defamation, although the second one more so than the first. The first only implies that you hit her. The second one directly states it.

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